Easy Vegan Chili

Get ready to spice up your mealtime with this hearty vegan chili recipe! Packed with a medley of beans, vegetables, and zesty seasonings, it's the perfect way to add a "kick" of flavor to your day with only 15 minutes of active prep time!
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A bowl of vegan chili topped with fresh herbs, vegan sour cream, avocado slices, and a hand with a spoon about to scoop some up.
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Today we’re excited to share an easy vegan chili recipe! This chili requires just 15 minutes of active prep time and then you can sit back, relax, and occasionally give it a stir. It’s the perfect meal to have simmering in the background on a lazy Sunday afternoon while you binge-watch your favorite tv show.

This vegan chili recipe garners its meatiness from both black beans and kidney beans. Combine it with onion, garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, and an array of spices to deepen both the flavor and the color of the chili. A lengthy simmer time melds the flavors together, and then it’s time to serve. Spoon this chili into bowls, pile on the toppings, and serve with a hefty handful of tortilla chips for dipping!

A spoon full of vegan chili hovering over a bowl of chili.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Vegan Chili

Chili is a great way to get a variety of nutrients in every bite while not having to sacrifice flavor or worry about a high cost. Beans are one of the cheapest staples you can get, especially when buying in bulk! While this recipe calls for canned beans, you’re welcome to use dried beans instead if you so prefer!

Need more reasons to love chili? Here’s why you’ll be wanting this recipe on repeat in your household:

  • Bursting with Flavor: This vegan chili is a flavor-packed delight, with a harmonious blend of spices and savory ingredients that will tantalize your taste buds.
  • Easy to make: It’s a breeze to prepare, making it an ideal choice when you don’t want to spend too long in the kitchen. You only need 15 minutes of active prep time and the occasional stirring of the pot so you can easily multitask and not be stuck in the kitchen the whole time.
  • Extra Wholesome: Loaded with protein-rich beans, fiber, and a variety of veggies, it’s a hearty and nutritious choice that will keep you satisfied.
  • Customizable: Easily adapt the spice level to suit your taste, and add your favorite toppings for a personalized twist.
  • Perfect for Meal Prep: Whip up a big batch and enjoy it throughout the week, as the flavors tend to get even better with time.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

Yellow Onion: Yellow onions are a versatile and milder option for this recipe, but you can substitute with red or white onions if you prefer or have them on hand.

Garlic: Use at least two large cloves, but if you’re a garlic lover, don’t hesitate to add more!

Spices: This vegan chili uses Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, Ground Cumin, and Cocoa Powder for a flavorful blend. Adjust the spice level to your liking, and feel free to increase or decrease the quantities based on your preference for smokiness, heat, and flavor depth. And if you’re skeptical about cocoa powder, it adds depth and richness to the chili as well as helps balance out the acidity—definitely a must-try!

Fire Roasted Tomatoes: Opt for fire-roasted tomatoes for a smoky flavor or used diced canned tomatoes.

Kidney Beans and Black Beans: Canned beans work well in this recipe for convenience, but you can also cook dried beans from scratch if you have the time.

Tomato Paste: It’s the perfect rich and hearty base for thickening the chili and intensifying the tomato flavor!

Brown Sugar: A little sweetness from brown sugar helps balance out the acidity and enhances the overall flavor of the chili. Don’t worry, it won’t taste sweet at all! You can also use coconut sugar or even agave syrup if you prefer.

Vegetable Bouillon: Use your favorite bouillon cubes or paste for added flavor. Alternatively, you can sub with salt to season the chili.

Gathered ingredients for this vegan chili recipe in various bowls with labels.

How To Make This Easy Vegan Chili

Step 1: Heat vegetable oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Once heated, sauté diced onion until browned (approximately three minutes). Add minced garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.

Diced onion and garlic sauteeing in a large Dutch oven pot.

Step 2: Next, add water, fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, tomato paste, chili powder, bouillon (or salt), brown sugar, cocoa powder, cumin, and smoked paprika.

Step 3: Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes to develop rich flavor. Serve topped with avocado, cilantro, and/or plant-based sour cream for extra deliciousness!

A ladle scooping up some vegan chili from the pot.

Vegan Chili Protein Ideas

Beans are naturally high in protein, fiber, and iron. Just a half cup of cooked black beans offers nearly 10 percent of the recommended daily value for iron and around 8 grams of protein. You’ll be quite the protein machine when eating this easy vegan chili!

If you want to up the protein content even more and desire that classic, meaty texture, there are a few routes you could take:

  • Tofu – If you crumble tofu and flavor it with the chili spices such as paprika, cumin, salt, and oregano then you’ll end up with a delicious addition to your chili. If you’re new to tofu or want to discover some new tricks, check out our tofu guide for a comprehensive rundown!
  • Soy-Free – Looking for a soy-free boost to your chili? Beyond Meat Crumbles are an excellent choice to give your meal that extra bit of oomph without having to worry about a sensitivity to soy. 
  • TVP – In a time where there are new vegan meat replacements popping up every day, let’s take a moment to reflect on our faithful old friend, Textured Vegetable Protein, which has been around for decades now. TVP is made from soy flour and is a complete protein that contains no fat, making it an excellent substitute for meat. Like tofu, it takes on the flavor of whatever its being cooked with, making it a natural choice for adding to chili!
  • Mushrooms – Mushrooms are a great way to add texture and flavor to dishes, including this chili! Button mushrooms, portobello, or oyster mushrooms are all excellent choices. For the ultimate infusion of flavor, be sure to sauté your mushrooms with a little salt and spice prior to adding into the chili.

How to Serve Up Your Easy Vegan Chili

While chili is plenty delicious and filling to eat on its own, it also pairs wonderfully with a variety of other dishes. Bread, salad, and sides are all great ideas for rounding out your meal. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when planning your culinary creations!

Vegan chili in a bowl topped with cilantro, vegan sour cream, jalapeno and avocado slices.

Storing Your Chili

If you find yourself with more chili than you can handle, worry not! One of the best things about chili is that it’s perfect for making in bulk to enjoy throughout the week.

If sticking in the fridge, allow it to cool and then pour into an airtight container. Freezing instead? Also allow to cool and either pour into freezer-safe resealable bags or an airtight container.

When ready to reheat, just defrost overnight and heat up on the stove or microwave if you’re really in a hurry.

A bowl of vegan chili with toppings, next to a large pot of chili.

More Vegan Comfort Recipes to Try

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Easy Vegan Chili

Author: Liv Samson
5 from 6 votes
This vegan chili is bursting with flavor from a blend of hearty beans and aromatic spices simmered to perfection. The combination of fire-roasted tomatoes, spicy chile powder, and cumin creates a rich and satisfying depth of taste. Topped with creamy avocado, plant-based sour cream, and fresh cilantro, it's a comforting and nutritious dish that's sure to please vegans and non-vegans alike.
A bowl of vegan chili topped with fresh herbs, vegan sour cream, avocado slices, and a hand with a spoon about to scoop some up.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola oil
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, and their juices
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, and their liquid
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste for less spice
  • 2 cubes vegetable bouillon, or 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar, not packed
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Optional Toppings:

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • Vegan sour cream


  • In a medium-sized pot add the vegetable oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in the diced onion and cook until browned (about three minutes). Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the water, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, tomato paste, chili powder, bouillon (or salt), brown sugar, cocoa powder, cumin, and smoked paprika.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes for the most flavorful, delicious chili. Top with avocado, cilantro, and/or plant-based sour cream.


  • To keep this dish oil-free, opt for vegetable broth instead of oil.
  • Got leftovers? This chili is even better on the second day after the flavors have mingled overnight!


Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 513mg | Potassium: 1362mg | Fiber: 26g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1784IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 10mg
Course — dinner, Lunch
Cuisine — American
Love this Recipe? Leave a Rating!And follow @Vegan on Instagram for more.
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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Perfect Sunday chili recipe! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    This is one of those recipes where you just have to keep going back for seconds and thirds. Yum!! I also mix it up with whatever ingredients I have on hand. Chilly is always flexible that way 🙂

  3. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    Chili is my favorite! So good!

  4. 5 stars
    Chili is definitely a staple in my house and, since my hubby loves basil, I think he’s going to be heads over heels for this recipe. Can’t wait to give it a go!

  5. Andrea White says:

    5 stars
    This chili looks amazing! YUM!

  6. 5 stars
    Now THIS is a hearty chili recipe! Yum!

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